16 Million People (and counting) Saved From Paralysis

Poliovirus and one of the Science Heroes that made this Headline Possible: Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D.

Polio has been around for centuries – but it’s almost gone – thanks to the efforts of many scientists, such as Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, as well as Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D., a National Academy of Sciences Scholar. Polio was first described clinically back in 1789 but it wasn’t until nearly a century later in 1894 that the first polio epidemic occurred. Polio peaked in 1952 when 3,145 people died and thousands more were paralyzed[1]. Around this time, the first vaccines were introduced which had a profound impact reducing the incidence of this disease and inspired one scientist in particular who went on to achieve breakthroughs in poliovirus after fleeing Berlin at the height of WWII, then later fleeing East Germany to continue his studies.

Dr. Wimmer, then a chemist, became fascinated by poliovirus as the first example of a self-replicating chemical and pathogenic entity, “a chemical with a life cycle”, and dug in to research its biology[2][3]. He and his lab were the first to sequence a eukaryotic RNA virus. They also elucidated its unique structure[4] (the first RNA virus to be linked to a protein later discovered to be involved in RNA replication) as well as to decipher the genetic organization of the poliovirus genome. These groundbreaking efforts enabled Dr. Wimmer to chemically synthesize the poliovirus genome – essentially becoming the first to successfully synthesize a living organism outside a cell[5]. In short, the world’s first test-tube virus was “born”, and, along with it, the dawning of the age of synthetic biology.

Continue reading “16 Million People (and counting) Saved From Paralysis”

Biotech Week Boston 2016 – Downstream Coverage

In Case You Missed It!

By Brandy Sargent, Editor, Cell Culture Dish

This year was the first year that the BioProcess International Conference (BPI East) became Biotech Week Boston and incorporated a Cell Therapy track. I was excited to attend and to see what the format for the new conference was going to be. I felt that the content was very relevant and covered a wide breadth of topics, from cell culture to commercial manufacturing and I was particularly interested to see how this translated to cell therapy. Overall Boston Biotech Week delivered talks focused on improving the manufacturing process for biopharmaceuticals and cell therapies, enabled industry networking opportunities, and provided the chance to see the latest products and technologies.

One area that I focused on was downstream manufacturing including recovery and purification, and drug product manufacturing including fill/finish. Continue reading “Biotech Week Boston 2016 – Downstream Coverage”

Leachables Testing Methods & Best Practices

Author: Nick Hutchinson

BPOG’s Best Practice Guide

The biopharmaceutical industry is increasingly using Single-use systems (SUS) for the manufacturing of medicines. Furthermore, companies are applying the technology in applications that are more critical to patient safety. Methods for assessing risks associated with using SUS in bioprocessing need to be developed.

Miriam Monge, Marketing Director for Integrated Solutions at Sartorius Stedim Biotech moderated a session at the BioProcess International Conference & Exhibition, 2016 in which representatives from the BioPhorum Operations Group (BPOG) discussed best practices for leachables testing when implementing SUS. During her introduction, Monge highlighted the need for the various stakeholder in the industry to work together to find consensus on testing methods.

Continue reading “Leachables Testing Methods & Best Practices”